Stuy Town Won't Hike Rent Mid-Lease for Tenants Promised Otherwise

By Gustavo Solis on June 19, 2013 4:41pm 

 At least a hundred tenants attended a press conference on May 15, 2013, to oppose mid-lease rent increases by CW Capital.
At least a hundred tenants attended a press conference on May 15, 2013, to oppose mid-lease rent increases by CW Capital.
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DNAinfo/Heather Holland

STUYVESANT TOWN — The owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village have backed off controversial plans for a mid-lease rent hike for tenants who can show that they were promised their monthly payments would stay the same throughout their lease.

In May, tenants of the 80-acre complex found a notice taped to their doors that said they had two weeks to either pay a mid-lease rent increase — as much as $1,000 — or move out.

In response to tenants' complaints that leasing agents had promised them that they would not face rent increases in the middle of their lease, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday that he had reached an agreement with CW Capital, the company that runs the complex, that will exempt tenants from the increases if they say they were misled. 

“Over the past number of years, CW Capital and its agents inserted language in leases purportedly reserving their rights to raise rents on residents, mid-lease, once the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer case was settled,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “At the same time, there were leasing agents who directly assured many residents — both verbally and in writing — that no such increases would occur.”

A previous settlement in a rent overcharge case at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village allowed CW Capital to increase rents during the middle of the current lease, according to Schneiderman and City Councilman Dan Garodnick.

CW Capital responded to Tuesday’s announcement by saying they have only received 10 complaints from affected residents.

However, a member of the Stuyvesant Town Tenants Association said the number of residents affected could be as high as 1,400.

“The mid-lease rent increases by CW Capital are crass and unnecessary,” said Councilman Daniel Garodnick, who lives in the complex. “Misrepresentations about rents by leasing agents will not be allowed to stand.”

Tenants have to prove that leasing agents misled them about the mid-lease increase by submitting an affidavit, sworn, “under penalty of perjury,” to avoid the rent increase, according to a letter from CW Capital.

Tenant Sonia Stuebe said she was cautiously optimistic that her $1,000-a-month rent increase would be reversed.

"I'm going to tell them everything I was told and hope for the best," she said.

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